Archive for April, 2011

Effectively Managing Stress

Urban Life: Your daily dose of sensory overload.

Stress can be a double-edged sword; constructive in some situations and destructive in others. It can be motivation to get certain task accomplished, and at the same time, prohibit us from doing more. Often stress is taken for granted until it manifests into tangible symptoms like headaches, digestive problems or trouble sleeping. Multi-tasking has become a way of life for most people. But those activities like juggling phone calls while checking work e-mails and running errands, or watching exciting TV before bed are only some of the stress you must deal with.

Combine that with the stress you have no control over. The barking dogs, traffic jams, and relationship or family demands are also factors which make up your daily dose of stressful sensory overload. It’s no wonder many people commonly feel a great deal of anxiety and frustration. To meet the demands of modern life, you may not be able to reduce the amount of stress in the course of your day. But there are some simple things you can do to help you better deal with that stress.

From the time wake up, till the time you go to sleep, your senses are constantly bombarded by stimuli. Modern technology has given us instant communication. However that luxury greatly reduces your time of solitude. Make time without distractions to be with yourself. Make this your time to regroup and take an inventory of your feelings and reflect. This time can also give you a chance to step outside of yourself and look in.

Exercise may increase your ability to manage stress. Getting the closest parking spot may be convenient, but parking further from that destination and walking that extra distance can be healthier. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. This is also good cardio exercise. Instead of using your iPod when you go to the gym, try mediation instead.

Nutrition is an important means of helping the body better deal with stress. Fast foods may be convenient, but they can make you feel sluggish. Eating well-balanced meals everyday will provide the fuel you need to function at your best. You don’t have to spend a lot of time reading labels to accomplish this. There’s a very simple more effective way to eat healthier. Most supermarkets are generally laid out in the same fashion, with healthier foods in their natural form situated on the outside, and highly process refined sugars located on the aisles in the middle. Limit your trips up and down the aisles and choose items you can look at to know what they are.

Don’t try to do everything yourself. If you have an opportunity to delegate task, it may be to your advantage to do so. This will reduce stress, and allow you to prioritize and concentrate on the items with more significance.  You may find that you are able to do a better more effective job with some things than just an ok job at everything.

Allow yourself a cooling off period before you go to bed. Surfing the internet or watching suspense TV may cause stimulation that could make it harder to fall asleep or even keep you awake. Reading before you go to sleep is a good way to provide yourself a de-escalation period.

“Thoughts are things”, is an old adage that has some credence. Take an inventory of your thoughts because that internal dialogue that is negative can cause stress. Focus on your accomplishments and the positive events of your day. Some people cannot tolerate uncertainty and are tend to worry. This can be a source of anxiety or tension. Thinking about what might go wrong does nothing to make life more certain. Dealing with the present events instead of the worse possible scenario may reduce stress and increase a good outcome.

Stress is how our bodies respond to the events that upset that sense of balance. This includes both the negative and positive things in daily life. Life changes that force you to adjust can be stressful like moving, changing jobs entering a new or ending a relationship. For the most part, stress is part of life and cannot be avoided. But how we deal with that stress can determine just how much of an effect it can have in our lives. Take charge and control stress. Don’t let stress control you.



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